New Delhi: Nearly 60,000 sanitation workers of two municipal corporations today called off their 16-day strike which had crippled the garbage disposal system in nearly 70 per cent of the city, posing a major health hazard.
The announcement to end the stir, which began on January 27 to press for payment of their dues, was made by the Swatantra Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukt Morcha, an umbrella body of 38 unions of sanitation workers and class IV employees of East and North Delhi Municipal corporations.
The leaders of the Morcha said they have decided to resume work as municipal officials, during a hearing on the strike in the Delhi High Court, assured that there will be no delay in payment of salaries to them in the next 5-6 months.
The doctors, nurses, engineers and teachers employed with the two BJP-ruled municipal bodies had also joined the agitation but withdrew after Delhi Government and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung separately announced financial assistance totalling around Rs 1,000 crore five days ago. "We have decided to call off the strike and bring Delhi back on the tracks.
The sanitation workers will resume work on war footing to clean the city from tomorrow," said president of the Sanyukt Morcha Sanjay Gehlot. Following the financial assistance, the corporations have paid salaries of the employees for the months of November, December and January. Rajendra Mewati, general secretary of United Front of MCD Employees, which has membership of various sections of employees of the civic bodies, said his union has decided to only suspended the strike.
"The strike was suspended feeling that the court will help us in finding a permanent solution of our grievances which is yet to be achieved," he said. As heaps of garbage caused health hazards in various areas of North and West Delhi, the AAP Government had on January 30 deployed hundreds of PWD and Delhi Jal Board workers to remove the trash.
The strike, started by sanitation workers, was later joined by doctors, nurses, engineers and teachers. Around 90,000 of the 1.30 lakh municipal employees participated in it when the agitation was at its peak. The BJP had blamed the AAP government for the strike accusing it of not releasing adequate funds to the three municipal corporations.
The AAP government, strongly rebutting the charges, had said the municipal corporations were given more money than was allocated to them in the last four years, alleging that financial mismanagement led to the crisis. Employees of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, also ruled by BJP, had extended support to the strike but refrained from joining it.
The mayors of three civic bodies had met President Pranab Mukherjee and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking their intervention for release of funds to the municipal bodies as per recommendation of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission.